“None are as empty as those who are full of themselves.” - Benjamin Whichcote
Have you ever met a prideful, arrogant person? Prideful people are always telling you about themselves, their accomplishments, and how smart and wonderful they are. Then they look at you to continue the conversation about them and to affirm their magnificence. Which of us could not name at least one person we know who acts like that?
So what is humility, and what makes humble people different? Humility is the absence of self in all we think, do or say. You know when you encounter humility because you are irresistibly drawn to and awestruck by its presence.
People with the quality of humility are interested in everyone else. In conversations, they want to know about you. They are not looking for ways you can be a blessing to them, they are looking for ways they can bless you. Humility is the very opposite of pride and arrogance. In a disagreement, pride is concerned with who is right, humility is concerned with what
is right. Pride and arrogance are all about self, they are always looking down at everyone else. Humility looks up.
One Saturday night in April, a friend and I stopped in at a Denny’s Restaurant in Dallas for coffee. Our waiter was a tall man with a South African accent. I watched him as he hurried about between tables working hard to serve the many customers in his area that night. There was a refined quality about him as he spoke and I wondered how this gentle, intelligent soul had ended up waiting tables in a family restaurant in Dallas. Asked what kind of work he had done previously in his own country, he replied he had run several large companies and it was clear he had been in executive management. I was awestruck that he could do such menial work with such a wonderful attitude toward even the rude and drunken patrons, which were many that particular evening.
“But,” he replied, “I now have the privilege of serving others.” And with that he bowed his head, laid our check on the table and walked off to assist other diners.
The rest of that evening and for many days after, I thought of that gentleman and pondered the wonder of encountering true humility up close. I felt I had held a rare dazzling jewel worth an entire kingdom for the briefest of moments, and I longed to see more.
How much nicer the world would be if there were no prideful and arrogant people, if everyone were concerned with others instead of themselves. If all the prideful people suddenly realized the uselessness of talking about oneself.
Why talk about yourself anyway? As soon as you leave the room, there are plenty of people willing to do it for you.
"What kills a skunk is the publicity it gives itself.” - Abraham Lincoln
Excerpted from Sidewalk Flowers, Vol. 1